Marketing companies should leave well enough alone

What has happened to product packaging?

When they get something right, why does someone have to grab it off the shelves and change it?

For example, my favorite liquid coffee creamer has been on the market for years.

It had a perfectly functional container. It had a lid that opened and closed and, when mated with its bottle, it held the liquid inside. Pretty simple.

The package was recognizable, familiar and functional.

Then some doofus in the marketing department decided their product needed updating. You know, the old “new and improved” gag. I think all they really did is change the label, the bottle and the lid. I don’t think they touched the contents at all.

The label is OK. I can still find my creamer in the store’s cooler and wherever it gets shuffled to in the back of my refrigerator.

The contents taste the same to me, so I don’t guess they messed with that (like a certain company did with my favorite whipped salad dressing a number years ago. I’m onto them. It just isn’t the same).

But they sure did mess with, and mess up, the big red lid. There is only one time it is safe to pick up this bottle of creamer and shake it; that’s before you remove the safety seal.

Otherwise, you can expect the lid to leak. Even with regular use, the creamer dribbles around inside the lid and manages to escape, making the bottle and your hands sticky. You can’t avoid it. Every time I fix myself a cup of coffee, I have to go wash my hands before I can enjoy my hot beverage.

Kinda takes some of the enjoyment out of it, you know?

I decided to be proactive, not just complain to you folks, and friends and family. I decided to take it right up the ladder to the manufacturer.

I sent ’em a nice but stern email. (That ought to show ’em). By golly, they responded within 24 hours. Amazing!

As I got ready to open the message, I thought, “Boy, I’m getting somewhere now.”

The message read, in part, “Thank you for contacting (name of the company) regarding your leaking cap. We appreciate your feedback.

“Your feedback plays an integral role in our ongoing efforts to further improve our products and services. We recently made improvements to our packaging including the addition of a pull tab.

“We have heard from some consumers that the new package is leaking between the cap and the bottle. We are currently working to improve this and appreciate your patience. A revised red cap will be out in the marketplace very soon and will reduce the leaking issue.”

Well, that was October 2009. They have not fixed the cap, and I still have to wash my hands every morning after pouring their creamer.

I guess I should have been happy with the coupon they sent me for a free bottle of the creamer; you know, the one with the leaky red cap.

My wife tells me I hold onto things like this a little too long. Well, maybe so, but I am still holding out for a cap that does not leak.

Don’t mind me. I’m just grumpy.

Tim Renshaw formerly taught broadcasting at Greenfield-Central High School. He lives in New Palestine and can be reached at